“Train yourself for devotion, for, while physical training is of limited value, devotion is valuable in every respect, since it holds a promise of life both for the present and for the future.” (1 Tim 4:7-8)
Get rid of toxic relationships and spend more time with the one who “has your back always,” Olympic athlete Priscilla Frederick advised a gathering of Neumann University students on February 21st.
Frederick, a US born high-jump specialist competing internationally for Antigua and Barbuda, came to campus as part of the ongoing “On Tap” series sponsored by Neumann’s Campus Ministry.
Speaking to an audience familiar with upgrading phones and downloading new versions of software, Frederick encouraged the students to “upgrade yourself” and “become the best version of you.” But she didn’t encourage this transformation through diet and exercise. Instead, this world-class athlete told the young adults to go to church. “It’s all about having a relationship with God and thanking him for everything in your life,” she said. “I am not ashamed of my faith. God is the only person who has your back always and wants positive things for you 200% of the time.”
While Frederick credits her father for her dual-citizenship, she credits her mother for her faith. As a child, her mother insisted on weekly church attendance and though Frederick fought it, she eventually developed her own relationship with God. She encouraged the young people in the audience to use gratitude as the key to start their own divine friendship. “Begin to thank God for your successes and failures and He will show you the way,” Frederick said.
In addition, she gave the students some practical advice to deepen their faith experience. These included:
– writing goals
– writing daily thank-you notes
– surrounding yourself with faith-filled people
– thanking God for success, and, in failure, thanking God for the opportunity.
Born in New York and raised in New Jersey, Frederick attended Paul VI High School in Haddonfield, New Jersey. Though a nominal member of the track team, she didn’t take it too seriously at first. Frederick planned to attend college and pursue a career in acting or modelling. She skipped practice whenever it interfered with theater and school plays. “I didn’t give track 100 percent,” she said.
Her priorities changed when faced with the cost of a college education. During her senior year, Frederick skipped the shows and went to the track. St. John’s University offered her an athletic scholarship and she accepted immediately. “I did it for the money,” Frederick admits. But, looking back, it was part of a bigger plan leading to a silver medal and two national records. “I’m not preaching. I’m just letting you know God is the man!” she concluded.
Nafees Norris, a Neumann University Track and Field Athlete, commented on Priscilla’s talk stating, “She was great, very passionate, down to earth, relatable and much more. Most of all, she was motivating and encouraging to us all to be at our best despite trials and tribulations. She really blessed us all with her words of wisdom”.
Come join us on Tuesday, April 18th in the Student Multipurpose Hall at 8:00pm for another “Theology on Tap” featuring Dr. Mirenda.